Public-Private Partnership Aims to Shore Up Eroded Section of Neptune's Shark River Island
Despite delays and weather issues, over 25 volunteers and local homeowners joined the Littoral Society on Saturday, August 21 to help restore a salt marsh and create a hybrid living shoreline on Shark River Island in Neptune Township, NJ.
The work on the living shoreline was part of a larger project to stabilize an eroding shoreline that is owned by Seaview at Shark River Island Homeowners Association (a community of approximately 200 townhouses).
"While calling a waterfront community home has many benefits, it also brings unique challenges," said Michael Brantley, Mayor of Neptune Township. "This partnership, including Monmouth County, the Seaview Island Homeowners Association, Neptune Township, and the American Littoral Society, is making an incredible impact and will protect the lives and property of our residents, as well keeping our shoreline beautiful, for generations to come.”
The project also involves Stockton University, The Nature Conservancy, and private companies (including ECOncrete and Renova Environmental Services), which brought either additional expertise for engineering and monitoring of a project that combines natural solutions - such as the living shoreline - with hard barriers, like concrete mattresses or additional funding.
After nearly 30 years of lawsuits and negotiations, the dispute over 100 acres of privately-owned, environmentally sensitive wetlands in Cape May has finally been resolved, with the outcome guaranteeing the property won't be developed.
The owners of the property, East Cape May Associates, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection completed an agreement in mid-August that will preserve the property in its natural state by transferring ownership to the state for $19 million. This tract represents the last privately held contiguous open space in Cape May and is located near the town's Coast Guard Training Center.
"The American Littoral Society welcomes the news of the preservation of the East Cape May Associates tract at Sewell Point in Cape May City," said Tim Dillingham, Executive Director of the Littoral Society. "The Littoral Society has fought to protect this property from development for approximately 25 years, having participated as amicus in numerous legal proceedings, including two appellate arguments and a six-year mediation lead by the late Supreme Court Justice Daniel O'Hern.
"Its environmental values, significance and sensitivities warrant its preservation," Dillingham said. "We commend the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Concerned Citizens for Sewell Tract Preservation (a nonprofit that formed about seven years ago as a plaintiff intervenor in the long-running litigation), and the other litigants for achieving this result."
On Monday, July 26 the Littoral Society Restoration Corps and South Jersey Watersavers went to the NJ's Cumberland County Library to talk with kids about Critters, Creeks and Coasts. The hour-long program focused on freshwater benthic macroinvertebrates, rain barrels, and oyster reefs in the Delaware Bay.